Nobody’s perfect, and that means you will more than likely make mistakes in your professional career. When you do, it’s important that you own up to them, and also that your apology comes off as genuine. People won’t appreciate an apology if it comes off as just a way for you to relieve your guilty conscience or get them off your back. So here are some ways from Fortune that will help your apology seem more genuine:
Admit fault. It might be tempting to blame things on someone else (like that intern nobody likes), but you shouldn’t. You might also be tempted to make excuses, but doing so just causes the person to whom you’re apologizing to shut down and not hear you. Simply acknowledge that you were at fault, and state that you are truly sorry.
Describe what you did wrong. Identify precisely what you did or said that was unkind and/or unprofessional. This will show that you’ve thought about your actions, and that you value the opinions of the person you’re apologizing to, and that you care that your actions affected them. Emphasize that you will never make the same mistake again.
Offer to, and make amends. Think of a way to make it up to the person or people you’ve offended, and suggest that you do so. Be prepared to act on your offer and demonstrate that you’re genuine by following through.